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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Alonso extends stay at McLaren hoping for Renault engines boost in 2018

Two-time world champion had done best he can at British team, and was considering future in sport

McLaren's Fernando Alonso is hoping to revive his chances of winning an F1 title. Toru Hanai / Reuters
McLaren's Fernando Alonso is hoping to revive his chances of winning an F1 title. Toru Hanai / Reuters

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso on Thursday signed a new one-year contract with McLaren in a boost for the struggling Formula One team.

“It’s fantastic to be able to continue my relationship with everybody at McLaren. It was always where my heart was telling me to stay, and I really feel at home here," the Spaniard announced in a statement.

By penning a deal for the 2018 season Alonso is pinning his hopes on the famous British team regaining their winning tradition as they switch from the under-performing Honda power unit to Renault engines.

"McLaren has the technical resource and financial strength to be able to very quickly win races and world championships in F1," Alonso, 36, said.

"Although the last few years have not been easy, we have never forgot-ten how to win, and I believe we can achieve that again soon," added the driver, who won both his world titles in 2005 and 2006 with Renault.

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Alonso, who has dabbled in IndyCar, has chosen to stick with the team he joined three years ago rather than accept offers from both inside and outside F1.

He has a long-term goal of becoming only the second driver to complete the Triple Crown – winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans and the Indy500.

McLaren, who have not won a race since 2012 when Jenson Button triumphed in Brazil, were thrilled at their star driver's vote of confidence.

"With Fernando, there is no doubt that we have a driver who can help us achieve our goal of winning again in F1 – and, believe me, we are all keen to do that," McLaren executive director Zak Brown said.

The team's racing director Eric Boullier added: "Today’s announcement shows that he’s fully committed to racing and winning as a McLaren driver.

"And, while we’ve often shared his frustrations over the past few years, we now feel that we can deliver on our promise to give him a competitive car next season."

Alonso will once again be teamed up with Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne in 2018.

"With Fernando and Stoffel, we’re lucky to be writing a fresh chapter with what we believe to be the best driver line up in Formula 1," Boullier commented.

Ahead of Sunday's United States Grand Prix in Austin, Alonso is 16th in the driver's standings after mustering just 10 points, three fewer than Vandoorne.

F1 line ups in 2018

Mercedes-GP Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas; Ferrari Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen; Red Bull Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen; Force India Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez; Renault Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr; Williams Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa / Robert Kubica / Paul di Resta; McLaren Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne; Toro Rosso TBA; Haas F1 Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen; Sauber TBA